Narratives and Youth by Catherine Perez

“Making Sense of Condoms”

            This article was about studying the views on condom use by African youths. And I do consider that an important inquiry, since condoms are a great way to help prevent HIV transmittance. With the way HIV is being spread rapidly and among youths (stated in the article was 45% which is almost half!), assessing condom use attitudes can be a way to figure out how to get youths to use them. Since sure we can say that condoms are one of the best ways to prevent HIV transmittance, but the fact remains people need to use them. They need to use them right, consistently, and every time in order to be really effective.

I thought it was interesting to use a script writing contest to gauge youth’s perspective on the use of condoms. I feel like just asking youths would be more direct, and less bias to people who actually entered a contest to win a prize. To me the data would be skewed (but hey what data isn’t anyway?), but in the article the authors mention how the skits show youth’s perspectives in a free imaginative way. It allows youths to use their knowledge of firsthand experiences and to interpret their personal culture into skits for their community. So these narratives are great, but since to me it’s a contest, I don’t think they can be that accurate of a representation. I believe the ideals in these narratives are held by youths, maybe even commonly, but I thought this research wanted to access a more quantitative approach, as this would be useful in knowing what the majority of teens thought about condom use, but the research was more focused on the qualitative aspect.

According to the article 63,000 people participated in this contest and I was surprised that that many people entered. It was also interesting to hear some of the differences in the skits, for example between genders and ages. In the article they said condoms were only mentioned in around 37% of the samples they had, which to me seem pretty low.

So reading the 1st article second, I thought it was cool that these skits brought a difference to a select few’s lives. It allowed one to live their dream of directing films and it gives a way for people to relate.

They also mention that they saw misconceptions and themes in the entries, which sparked the (above) other article. So its troubling that misconceptions exist, but if people know the problem, they can better fix it.

So overall between the two articles, I’m glad that these narrative contests work in many ways. It allows youth to express themselves and win a prize, plus it gives data to researches about what youths think about HIV.

—Catherine Perez



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